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School Therapist Encourages Parents To Let Their Tweens Still Play With Toys Instead Of Forcing Them To 'Grow Up Quickly'

Photo: Vanessa Loring from Pexels via Canva Pro
kids playing with toys

There seems to be an insistence that children, especially tweens, turn to screens, social media, and other "adult" interests instead of staying young and enjoying activities meant for them.

In a TikTok video, a school therapist named Alexis Lazarus offered some advice for parents that involved letting their kids, especially their tweens, enjoy all of the aspects that come with adolescence instead of having them grow up too fast.

She encouraged parents to let their tweens continue playing with toys.

In Lazarus' video, she explained that as both a mother and a school speech-language pathologist, she encouraged parents that even as children grow up and enter their tween years, playing with toys is more than acceptable.

"Rest assured, your 8-year-old should still be playing with toys," she insisted. "It's okay and as parents, we should be encouraging them to play with toys. Stop forcing kids to grow up so quickly."

   

   

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Nowadays, many children have been dubbed as "iPad kids" who are attached to their screens, and the end result can be felt at home, in schools, and out in public places.

According to a study of 7,097 children published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, having anywhere from one to four hours of screen time per day at age one is linked with higher risks of developmental delays in communication, fine motor, problem-solving, and personal and social skills by age two.

Lazarus pointed out that children don't need to be nine years old with the mindset of a 12-year-old or a teenager. They're still children and should be allowed to act their age. 

A public school educator named Teresa Kaye Newman explained in a TikTok video her serious concern for Gen Alpha students who are glued to their phones and lack human interaction and activities that can stimulate their brains.

   

   

"The problem is we have this generation of parents that doesn't want to take accountability for not doing what they need to do to raise kids that are self-sufficient, that are socialized or kind," Newman said. "You ask them, ‘Can you stand in your designated spot?’ They’re telling you ‘No’ and ‘Shut up.’ They're throwing things at each other, they're throwing things at other people."

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There are much healthier options to give children when parents want to keep them occupied.

It can be difficult for parents to find time during their day to get things done when their children won't sit still. The easiest option is to put the television on or stick an iPad or tablet in front of them so they can play games.

However, there is value in giving a child a coloring book, toys, or an age-appropriate project designed to keep them happy and entertained. On the off-chance that parents do choose to give their kids a screen, something educational or even letting them video chat with a relative can make all the difference.

   

   

"We need to just slow down and … be as careful and mindful as we can about keeping kids anchored in the real world, which is really how we evolved as humans," Dr. John Hutton, an associate professor of general and community pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center told CNN. "There’s going to be plenty of time for screen time later once we get a better sense of who the kids are and what they need."

In this digital age of parenting, individuals need to be extra careful to make sure they don't allow their children to fall into the pit of the "iPad kid" route. By nurturing and stimulating their child's growth without trying to rush them into adulthood, they will definitely notice a considerable difference in not only how their kids interact with them, but other children and adults.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.